(Editor’s note: Everyone welcome back Trent Reinsmith, who’s returned to the Bloody Elbow staff!)
Main Card (written by Trent)
The UFC’s official Twitter account is usually pretty busy during headlining bouts. That was not the case for the main event of the Sao Paulo card. Two tweets showed up over the course of the 25-minute light heavyweight bout between Jan Blachowicz and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, who was making his debut at 205 pounds. The first tweet was the fighters touching gloves at the start of the bout. The second was the fighters raising their hands at the final horn. It was that kind of fight.
Souza’s offense was five unsuccessful takedown attempts and some work in the clinch against the cage. Blachowicz was a little more active in the striking department, but that striking was not very noticeable because most of the work he did was on the outside and defensive in nature. Blachowicz, who won via split decision, seemed more concerned with holding onto his spot in the light heavyweight rankings than with getting a finish.
After the fight, Blachowicz asked for a fight with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. His reasoning behind that request was that he only has a few more years left in his career. As thin as the 205-pound division is, that’s not a compelling reason to award someone a title shot.
- Paul Craig planned to make a statement in the co-main event. He opened the fight aggressively, racking up 31 significant strikes in the first round of his light heavyweight matchup against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The problem with that was that Craig seemed content to spend the next 10 minutes of the fight setting up, but never completing, submission attempts. That approach most likely cost him the win. Had Craig shown the same kind of aggression on the feet in the second or third round, he probably would have won the fight. Instead, by allowing Rua to control things on the ground, the contest ended in a rare split draw.
- Early in his UFC career, Charles Oliveira earned a reputation as a fighter who, let’s say, wasn’t interested in slugging it out. After five straight finishes, Oliveira deserved a fight against a ranked opponent. Instead, the UFC booked him against Jared Gordon, who was 3-2 since he joined the UFC in 2017. The booking felt like the promotion wanted to see how Oliveira would do against an aggressive opponent. He did fine. Known more for his submissions than his striking, Oliveira scored his second-straight knockout win when he planted Gordon on the mat 86 seconds into the lightweight bout. After his 15th UFC stoppage victory, Oliveira called out Conor McGregor (because, of course) and Paul Felder. Felder is the last man to score a win over Oliveira. Felder knocked out Oliveira in the second round of their 2017 matchup.
- I don’t recall a Brazilian crowd booing a fight between two Brazilian competitors, but that’s what we got in the middleweight bout between Antonio Arroyo and Andre Muniz. It was a grappler vs. striker bout and the grappler, Muniz, won. He earned the unanimous decision on the strength of his takedowns and submission attempts. The most notable moment of this contest came when referee Camila Albuquerque paused the fight after Arroyo sold her on an “illegal” knee that was clearly legal.
- For a 23-year-old middleweight in his second fight with the UFC, Wellington Turman looked solid in scoring a unanimous decision win. He pushed forward, performed well in the grappling exchanges, showed a good grasp of fundamentals and never put himself at risk in his battle with the flashy Markus Perez. It’ll be interesting to watch this young Brazilian develop.
Preliminary Card (written by Mookie)
- James Krause picked up his sixth consecutive win, systematically picking apart a rather woeful looking and quickly exhausted Sergio Moraes. There was no good reason for this fight to have reached a third round given the walloping that was round two, but this is MMA, so the ass kicking had to be prolonged. A wicked right hand KO by Krause to cap off a great performance, and I’m down to see him in bigger matchups at 170 lbs entering next year.
- Ricardo Ramos just styled on Luiz Eduardo Garagorri, getting a standing rear-naked choke finish near the end of round one. The Brazilian bantamweight is quietly 5-1 in the UFC, which shows you how stacked this division is.
- Francisco Trinaldo and Bobby Green put on a good scrap, and as usual it ended with Green in a close fight that ended with debate over how it should’ve been scored. I had it Trinaldo 29-28 for more damaging offense, but can see an argument for Green getting the nod based on how he closed round one and controlled round two. Ultimately, Green’s style lends itself to these types of outcomes, and it’s an annoyance to score his bouts.
- Randy Brown is ready for the top-15. He dispatched Bryan Barberena in his last bout, and he recovered from a slow start and rear-naked choke scare to submit Warlley Alves early in round two. If you seriously picked Brown by submission then I want to see your betting slip right now. “Rude Boy” has bounced back brilliantly since the Niko Price KO, and he is one to watch in 2020.
- Renan Barao got his face beaten in again. Douglas Silva de Andrade was the opponent this time. It was a little competitive at first and turned into a blowout. Please retire, Renan.
- Ariane Lipski made her first UFC win too hard for herself, winning a unanimous decision over last-minute replacement Isabella De Padua, a career strawweight who missed the flyweight limit. Lipski’s takedown defense is still horrible and De Padua had her in some trouble with a reverse triangle in round two. Lipski has been a major disappointment since she joined the UFC from KSW, where she was champion.
- Opening the card, Tracy Cortez dominated Vanessa Melo with a unanimous decision win. Cortez really dominated proceedings after round one, so good for the Dana White’s Contender Series prospect in her UFC debut.
- This card really sucked.